ELCA missionary receives American Medical Association honor

2/3/2013 12:00:00 AM

     CHICAGO (ELCA) -- Dr. Mark L. Jacobson, a medical missionary of the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), has been awarded the 2013 Dr. Nathan Davis International Award in Medicine from the American
Medical Association.
     “This is indeed a fantastic honor, and we take great pleasure in
having our decades of service in Tanzania noticed and honored by the
wider medical community,” said Jacobson.
     Jacobson and his wife, Linda, have been providing health care
services and overseeing medical training in Tanzania since 1985 at the
invitation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania.
      “For me personally, (the honor) is more a recognition of the work
that Linda and I have done together, and it particularly affirms the work
and commitment of an entire team of professionals, supporters and
faithful coworkers in these many efforts. It is humbling to realize that
many years of serving among the poor has ultimately been respected and
profoundly honored by the profession,” he said.
      Jacobson’s work has included transforming rural dispensaries into
Selian Lutheran Hospital in Arusha, Tanzania, which encompasses 10
buildings, 250 employees and 12 physicians. He has also led the planning,
funding and construction of the Arusha Lutheran Medical Center, which is
recognized as a leading health institution in the country. The hospital
and medical center provides care to more than 150,000 patients per year.
      Jacobson started a school to train medical officers, began a
nursing school scheduled to open in March 2013 and a surgical residency
program to start in 2014.
      Jacobson has provided medical care for thousands of people living
in poverty in East Africa. He started specialized outreach services that
have reached thousands of women suffering from obstetric fistulas and
children with orthopedic problems. Jacobson also initiated hospice and
palliative care for HIV and AIDS patients in Tanzania, and is a founding
member and chair of the Board of the African Palliative Care Association,
which now promotes hospice and palliative care in over 30 African
      “The American Medical Association has discovered what we have known
for many years; your exemplary service, unconditional commitment, and
selfless giving to the Massai people and the people of Tanzania,” wrote
the Rev. Rafael Malpica Padilla, executive director for global ministries
at ELCA churchwide ministries, in a congratulatory letter to the
      “The visible accomplishments of your work are outstanding,” wrote
Malpica Padilla. “However, your greatest accomplishment has been the
Christian witness that you and Linda have given to your children, raising
them to be good stewards and servant of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
      The ELCA and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania are member
churches of The Lutheran World Federation, a global communion of 143
member churches in 79 countries worldwide. The ELCA is the communion’s
only member church from the United States.
     Information about the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania is
available at http://www.ELCA.org/tanzania and more about the work of
Jacobson is featured at http://www.livinglutheran.com/stories/filled-with-
About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United
States, with more than 4 million members in nearly 10,000 congregations
across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church
of “God's work. Our hands,” the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God
through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the
world. The ELCA's roots are in the writings of the German church
reformer, Martin Luther.

For information contact:
Melissa Ramirez Cooper
773-380-2956 or Melissa.RamirezCooper@ELCA.org
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Lutherans
Living Lutheran: http://www.livinglutheran.com


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